Daguerreian Society

On this day (October 19) in the year 1839, the following article 
appeared in the "New-York Mirror" (Vol. 17, No. 17, p. 135.) If not the 
first, this is certainly one of the earliest public exhibitions of the 
daguerreotype in the U.S. One could only wish that the author had been 
more impressed by the daguerreotypes so as to provide more than this 
passing mention.
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   Fair of the American Institute at Niblo's--It will be two weeks on 
Monday since the opening of this noble exhibition.  A greater variety 
of articles than have been presented on any former occasion, will be 
found here, and the crowds of spectators, who have visited the 
exhibition, have been we believe, more numerous than heretofore, during 
the same space of time.  The spacious area of Niblo's garden is almost 
entirely covered with masterpieces of art and mechanical workmanship 
and ingenuity.  The covered walk from Broadway is filled with beautiful 
specimens of carriage manufacture--sleighs of elegant pattern, gigs, 
barouches, and other vehicles, some in a very novel style.  Passing 
these, we come upon a row of stoves, grates, and cooking ranges of 
every variety of shape.  The saloons present a striking array of fancy 
articles of every description.  Here are head-coverings and feet-
covering; hat, caps, slipper, some of very dainty workmanship; shoes, 
and boots, that rival in beauty the best Parisian; delicate specimens 
of shell-work and wax-work, confections, perfumery, brushes, silver and 
plated ware, capes, ruffles, turbans, jewellery, optical instruments, 
cutlery, and other matters.  We might as well attempt to catalogue 
Broadway as to give a list of all of them.  In the galleries are hung 
maps, pictures, samplers, and many ingenious masterpieces of the pen, 
brush, and needle.  The admirable miniatures by Hite will be found well 
worthy of examination.  Passing into the side saloon, you are 
surrounded by the evidence and promises of what is yet to be done in 
the manufacture of silk in the United States.  These cannot fail to be 
regarded with great interest, not merely as results but as beginnings 
of results.  Beyond we have portraits, and the first efforts of the 
Daguerreotype in this country; cotton prints, sheeting, broadcloths, 
woollens, musical instruments.  In the lower side saloons we have 
beautiful specimens of cabinet-ware, chairs, tables, bureaus, 
wardrobes, bedsteads, and sofas.  A fine mantel-piece of white marble, 
and another of fine black American marble, will excite particular 
admiration.  The Cochran cannon is perhaps one of the most remarkable 
inventions in the room.  Not the least of the attractions of the 
Institute consists in the cluster of fair faces, of nature's own 
workmanship, to be seen among the spectators.  A fair specimen of the 
beauty, as well as of the mechanical skill of New-York, may here be 
witnessed; and we do not doubt that the most satisfactory prizes that 
the Institute can offer, may be obtained in this department.

Posted for your enjoyment.     Gary W. Ewer     

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